Grammar school tests to be made 'tutor-proof'

(419 Posts)
breadandbutterfly Mon 05-Nov-12 17:16:02
TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 11:13:13

One person's 'grinding' is another person's 'meticulous' smile

The 11+ isn't that difficult in itself. I mean, DS mastered the various formats after a month but he couldn't work to the clock. When he sped up silly mistakes would creep in. Hence the hours of mock papers.

If there is a 'fun' way of doing this then please share.

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 11:35:57

... also.. assuming that I am not confusing you with someone else, most of your DCs are past/present/future medical students. You don't get to that place in life without being driven. Whether you want to acknowledge it to me or yourself is another matter.

OhDearConfused Wed 06-Feb-13 13:00:59

I have heard parents outside Tiffin school exams saying: 'Go in there and pass that exam. It'll save daddy £250000.' And 'You can beat all these boys' (waves arms around at the 1000s of Tiffin hopeful as his pale son looks on, frightened.)

please tell me that's a joke!

annach Wed 06-Feb-13 13:25:28

Sadly not. Both verbatim quotes from dads (not mums, interestingly) that I overheard when passing the school on exam day last year.

It's parental hysteria that thwarts a child, not practise papers. I used to grin when my DC were ill and lay on the sofa asking if they could do 'some of those puzzle books' (Bond NVR papers) to pass the time. They enjoyed them. It's all about how you present it.

Yellowtip Wed 06-Feb-13 13:38:06

You may be confusing me with someone else TBS since only one of mine is doing Medicine. But he is just not 'driven'. I probably know DS well enough to confirm smile So far he's taken everything in his stride and is mega calm.

I agree about how a parent presents the 11+ and any prep for it annach. Those Tiffin mums sound nuts - poor kids.

Yellowtip Wed 06-Feb-13 13:39:01

Dads? (just re-read). Blimey.

OhDearConfused Wed 06-Feb-13 13:46:04

No - it was "mums" - the sensible dads were those that overhead those nutty mums!

annach Wed 06-Feb-13 14:12:40

No Confused, it was dads saying these things. Dads are the worst in my experience. When DS went for his 11+ at one school recently I overheard a dad badgering his son to have a cup of coffee as it would improve his brain power in the exam. Kid didn't want one but his dad nagged on. I nearly intervened to say, it'll make him need the loo, but didn't.

Yellowtip Wed 06-Feb-13 14:16:03

Mine have all taken wine gums into the exam (I didn't have to badger any of them though).

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 14:20:41

Why would they take winegums? Are these known for their brain enhancing powers? They aren't vegetarian/vegan so I wouldn't know and my kids will never get the benefit.

I know when DD1 did the 11+ she had to go in reeking of vomit as her sister had thrown up in the car on the way there, down DD1's back. I was actually in an aeroplane flying back to the UK from Budapest so I had no idea this had happened until I got home much later that day.

It's amazing DD1 got in, really.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 06-Feb-13 14:22:24

I'm not sure its possible to make the exam tutor proof, but agree it would be the fairest way.
For those of us who know our dc would not pass an 11+ test because they are just not bright enough, it would be a huge consolation to know that only the truely bright kids could attend Grammar Schools.
I think that GS have their place for bright dc whatever their background and if managed like this are fair and open to all.

However, what happens to those who gain a place through intense tutoring, do they immediately fall behind when they start y7.

Copthallresident Wed 06-Feb-13 14:29:01

OhDearConfused In cafe opposite Kingston Grammar School before entrance exam when DD and I are having a hot chocolate and a gossip about anything but the exam the man opposite was testing his similarly pale son from a Key Stage 2 Maths book and saying "You have to remember this, there are 700 other children going to be in there and they will know all the answers"

I am sure it is not a joke, but lets hope it was the same man wink.

Mind you in our household we had the conversation, Dad "Please go to Tiffin. It will save me £12000 a year" DD " No, the labs were rubbish, the teachers were rude and who wants to go to a school where they throw your friends out if they don't pass the exams at the end of each year? I hated it." Dad has been moaning under his breath ever since.

TotallyBS Lets just say that I know many very bright DC who did not get into Tiffin, which actually requires a score in excess of the 97th percentile, some prepared and some did not (equally of those who got in some prepared, some did not, though none to the extent you describe), who went on to succeed in their alternative schools. That included state schools and some which , shock horror, don't appear in the top 200, and they still went on to good unis, including Oxbridge. They would do because you would expect those at Oxbridge and elite uni candidates to score above the 95th percentile (also the figure that LEH expect to see in their VR). Obviously this would be in tests of natural ability, not ones where you can spend months subjecting your child to endless rote repetition on the scale you describe, to push their score up to the 90th percentile, because they have clearly ceased to be tests of natural ability.

On a lighter note I now invigilate in the end of year exams at my uni (RG, and a venerable bastion of the establishment) and I come over all "in my day" because not only are they bringing in LITRES of diet coke, and having to be escorted to the loo every five minutes (Why? I needed every second'd writing time !!) but lunch, one actually whipped out a Subway last year shock I doesn't come naturally to me but I turned into one of those women of a certain age with a mouth like a cats bottom . Yellowtip wine gums? the start of a slippery slope...................

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 14:36:45

Those who gain a place through intense tutoring don't necessarily fall behind in Year 7. The very high pass mark is a reflection on how competitive it is to gain an offer. It is not reflective of the level that is expected of you once in.

Granted, if after intense tutoring you only scrape in by the skin of your teeth then yes you will may struggle but it's not inevitable.

Yellowtip Wed 06-Feb-13 14:42:51

Russians wine gums are just nice. And they don't disturb other people because they don't have rustly papers.

DD3 was hugely sick actually into her exam paper at the start of this term (they couldn't mark it very easily, so her tutor is letting her sit it again).

annach Wed 06-Feb-13 14:46:51

Copthall I sincerely hope it was the same dad. (Sounds like him.) But I bet it wasn't.

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 14:48:51

Copt - which one is it? Is the world ful of anxious parents duped into paying tutors from year 4 OR is it full of parents who don't tutor to the extent I described?

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 14:54:35

BS - in some parts of the country many many parents are duped into paying for tutoring beyond the level at which the law of diminishing returns kicks in. In some parts of the country most parents don't tutor. In no parts of the country can tutoring transform an average child into bright one, it can though help unlock potential.

Copthallresident Wed 06-Feb-13 15:02:04

BOTH TotallyBS You don't get it do you? The extent to which you tutored is off the scale but even at lesser levels of tutoring the parents are being duped

morethanpotatoprints Wed 06-Feb-13 15:11:45

I haven't read all this thread but have picked up on the extremes. I am really interested as the land of private tutoring and Grammar Schools is completely alien to me, apart from threads I read on here.
So far I have concluded that the majority of the stories here are parents doing what they believe is in the best interests of their children and unless that was bordering on child abuse, was very commendable. I have experienced the complete opposite where parents couldn't give a stuff about their dcs education, or were supportive but expected their local state primary to suffice.
At present I am interested in finding a suitable education for my dd who won't be attending a Grammar school but maybe a specialist none selective school. However, many other children will have attended private school, prep school and be more academically advanced than my dd. She is very average in state school terms so no doubt would start from behind.

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 15:54:53

Copt - I spent the Easter break familiarising DS with the various types of questions and he spent the next 5 months doing mock papers under exam conditions. That, to you, is off the scale ????

Are you/your children that delicate that 60 min of homework sandwiched between football, swimming, music lesson and practice (obviously not on the same day) plus usual tv and games console time is too stressful?

No doubt you would disagree but I find you very closed minded. You presume to be the norm. Parents that are less pushy than you are failing their kids. Parents that are more pushy than you are abusing their kids. You, on the other hand, is just right in your balance. grin

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 16:03:00

morethan - at selective schools the first two terms is spent getting everyone on the academic level. The French fir example was aimed at newcomers to the language so the prep boys were just revising while others caught up.

The only problem we had, coming from a non academic state school, was the homework. DS went from none to 2 hours a day. It was only term 2 that he felt relaxed enough to enjoy school.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 16:14:52

BS - at DD1's school there was no 'getting everyone up to the academic level'. They hit the ground hard and fast. Obviously they follow the NC but since they accelerate they can't afford to lose two terms getting people up to speed! At the end of the first two terms they are already on the Y8 curriculum (in some subjects, perhaps not all). DD1 has also never had 2 hours of homework set in one night. Although she might easily spend more than 2 hours off her own bat reading round the subject, but that's as much a response to how annoying her siblings have the potential to be on any given evening as anything else.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 16:16:33

My point here is that nobody can talk about what happens in their child's school and present it as 'this is what happens at selective schools' (or indeed 'this is what happens at comps' or 'this is what happens at sec mods'). All you know for sure is it is what happened in your child's school, in the year in question.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 06-Feb-13 16:25:54

TotallyBS.
Many thanks for that. The school itself is not selective in terms of academic subjects so I don't think it is the same standard as the super selective schools.
It is super selective in a none academic subject, with many of the dcs having attended very good primary schools. Many coming from the indie sector.
My dd is H.ed atm, we did this so she could concontrate on her talent which is the only thing she wants to do in life. I know she will gain a place at this school, but worry so much that her peers will be from completely different walks of life and very academic. My dd is average at best and quite often struggles. I'm also pretty sure she is dyslexic and dyspraxic as I am severley and she shares my weaknesses, especially in maths.

TotallyBS Wed 06-Feb-13 17:44:04

Russian - All the kids have passed the same rigorous entrance exam so I'm not suggesting that lessons were dumbed down so that the 'thick' state school kids could get remedial help.

The reality is that the prep boys will have covered more material than those coming from a state primary and the school is aware of this. I was simply assuring morethan that her DC won't be starting from behind.

At the risk of getting into a pissing contest, the two hours homework each night means that after two terms we are onto Y8 curriculum for all subjects as opposed to your some.

As for only being able to comment on the school and year ones child is at, I''ve noticed that this mantra doesn't stop you from commenting on a wide range of subjects grin

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